The Rhythm of Lent

Photo by Ahna Ziegler

Most of us know that today marks the church’s entrance into the season of Lent. It all begins each year with Ash Wednesday.

It’s a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) centered in the examination of our lives through lament, repentance, and fasting. Perhaps many of our churches don’t regularly engage in these biblical practice. But we know Christ himself did. In all, Lent culminates with the weekend of Good Friday, Silent Saturday, and then Resurrection Sunday (April 2-4 this year).

But many people may ask why participate in Lent? It seems so stuffy and religious, so outdated.

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The American Church’s Exile and How to Move Forward

Well, 2021 is off to a fabulous start. I say that with sarcasm, of course.

There is little doubt that we are in a predicament, one that’s been building not just in 2020, nor over the past four years. It’s been unfolding for decades, if not centuries. I’m not sure it’s going to stop. As the old adage goes, “Things may get worse before they get better.”

There are a few things I believe the American (even global) church must engage in to change the trajectory that it’s on. Take them or leave them. But I am convinced they are worth taking up.

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Are we in the last days? Well, yeah, but that started a long time ago

Eschatology is simply defined as the study of last things. I personally like the phrase last things rather than the oft-used end times, primarily because the latter phrase can leave solely scary images in peoples’ minds. Even Hollywood has picked up on this idea in all of their apocalyptic films. We need healthy and hopeful theology, whatever theological camp one lands in.

Even more, there are a lot of crazy things going on in our world today, right? A pandemic, racial unrest, political turmoil, regular occurrence of massive hurricanes, and more. Sounds like something out of Matthew 24:

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matt 24:6-8)

What are we supposed to make of this? Is it the end times, or again, last days?

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Why the Church Calendar?

church-calendar The church new year launched two days ago as we entered the season of Advent. Many may ask why the church calendar? It sounds old, boring, and out-dated at best, or created to send us to our spiritual graves at worst.

At least those would have been my thoughts some years ago. But over the past decade I have been drawn to what we call the liturgical calendar.

What is it?